(This article appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
In our last column, we looked at the cake shake trend and discussed elevating Instagram and YouTube dessert trends toward ‘legitimate’ pastry. This time around, we’re looking at tricked-out churros, the traditional fried treats that are commonplace at fairgrounds.
Since churros originate from Spain and Portugal, they can be found all throughout Mexico, Central and South America. In the United States, they are more common in the Southwest, but, if you’re looking, you can find them almost anywhere.
Basically, churros are a pâte à choux variation. The masa or paste is made by boiling milk, butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla, and then adding flour to thicken. The masa is then cooked a bit to dry it out, and then placed in a mixing bowl with a paddle. The base cooks while mixing, and after there is no visible steam. The eggs are added slowly to finish the churro paste.
Churros can be hand-piped or extruded with a machine and placed directly in a fryer. We pipe ours with a star tip on the end of a plastic piping bag. We want perfectly shaped churros, so we measure each one and cut them with scissors dipped in hot oil. They are then fried in a shallow fryer (a pot with oil will do). The churros are then tossed in cinnamon sugar and served immediately with chocolate, caramel and vanilla sauces.
The construct of our tricked-out churros is consistent; each one is composed of a flavored or colored churro base, a piped sauce (which is generally cream or fruit based), and toppings that offer texture and color. We offer churros topped with buttercream and cereal or cookies, but our seasonal varieties bring together dessert elements to portray a theme. These churros and more can be viewed on IG by visiting @bodegaimports.
As we head into warmer months, we suggest churros with fruity summer flavors. Our Patriotic Churro is made with a blueberry masa topped with vanilla buttercream, berry jam, chocolate curls and fresh blueberries. For fun, we arranged them as an American flag!
Our Strawberry Shortcake Churro is a strawberry flavored churro topped with vanilla bean icing, dehydrated strawberries and sugar cookie crumbs. Another light and delicious option is the Lemonade Churro topped with candied lemon, yellow confetti sprinkles and gold stardust glitter.
Using the piped method, we can create shapes with our churros, like the Heart-Shaped Churro. Our red velvet churro is topped with strawberry cream cheese icing, pink hearts, and red glitter.
Toward the end of summer, we work with spices and some festive flavors. Last year we celebrated the close of summer and welcomed fall flavors with our Apple Cinnamon Churro. We roll an apple spice churro in cinnamon sugar and top it with spiced Granny Smith apple filling, dulce de leche caramel, and cream cheese icing.
Another festive fall churro is our Pumpkin Churro, topped with cranberry jam drizzle, crumbled golden churro Chex mix, and candied pepitas.
We hope you enjoyed these churro variations and are inspired to create some of your own creative churro combinations!
Jimmy MacMillan is a celebrated pastry chef, food writer and award-winning videographer. As the Corporate Pastry Chef for DineAmic Group in Chicago, Chef MacMillan creates viral desserts for six restaurant venues. Currently, Jimmy is in development of a new video series under the name JMVirtuosity. For more information, visit: www.JMPurePastry.com and @jmpurepastry